Sunday, August 19, 2012

Books for Girls

Truth:  A great story is a great story and should be enjoyed by both boys and girls

Truth:  There is no way my sons would read about ice skating at the Maple Blossom Festival

And yet this week I have a great story about a girl with an Olympic skating dream, another fabulous book about a girl who is obsessed with a famous Bollywood star, and a lovely story about dolls that come to life when their owners are not around.

So let's be honest.  As well as a story is written, and as compelling as that narrative may be, there are some books that most boys will never want to pick up, even under the greatest duress I can imagine - no more video games!

So sit back on your flowered comforter, with your hair in a ponytail and a fluffy blanket on your lap and soak up some fun books that speak to the hopes and wishes of girls.  Yes, it is a girl thing!

If you were really hoping for some boy books this week, check out the blog written by my sons One Great Book Unplugged.  They have just posted some great titles that boys will definitely enjoy!

Title:          Sugar and Ice

Author:      Kate Messner

Target:       Grades 4-7

Series:         No

What this book is about:
Claire is in seventh grade, living in upstate New York.  When a renowned skating coach sees her program in the Maple Festival, he offers her a scholarship to skate at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.  Well, while she has to face cutting out the things she loves (mathcounts, time with friends, sugaring) she also has to deal with a new environment where the stakes are higher and the competition fiercer.  Will she be able to succeed or will it all prove too much for her?

Why I love this book:
Ok, as I read this book I kept thinking this is a book I would have carried around with me in elementary school.  I admit it, I was that girl that loved The Cutting Edge (#1, not the rip off sequels).  I secretly dreamed I could be an ice skating star every time I watched the Olympics.  

And this book is about a sweet, can do girl, who is managing expectations, mean girls and family commitments.  But the best part is that the story is not completely cliche.  The ending, I think, will surprise you, and there is a mystery surrounding the mean girls that is unexpected.  That, and the writing is very well done.

Who this book is for:
Any girl who loves skating and any girl who dreams of skating.

Final thoughts:
As great as the cover is for The Grand Plan to Fix Everything (the next book reviewed), it just serves to emphasize how bad the cover is for this book.  Please don’t let it dissuade you from this lovely story.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Sugar and Ice  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Author:   Uma Kirshnaswami

Target:    Grades 3-6

Series:     No

What this book is about:
Dini is obsessed with Bollywood, and especially Dolly Singh, the star of her favorite Bollywood movies.  When Dina’s mother gets a grant to work in a clinic in India, the family moves from Maryland to a small Indian village, which Dini fears will never bring her closer to Dolly.  The story unfolds like a movie, as Dolly is in hiding in that same village with a broken heart, and with the help of a postman, bakery owner, handy man, driver, and tea plantation owner, Dini works to fix everyones problems, including her own!

Why I love this book:
This book is pure, well written fun!  The story moves along like a film with amazing chance encounters, and monkeys in all the right places for comic relief!  Dini is a lovely main character who is struggling with moving away from her best friend and finding a purpose in India.  You can’t help but smile when you are done with this story.

I also want to mention the illustrations, which are just perfect for the story.  They are charming and in all the right places!  

Who this book is for:
This is a wonderful girl book and a fun book for those interested in the Bollywood film culture.  

Final thoughts:
A fast paced adventure with a clever heroine - cut! 

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:        The Doll People

Author:    Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin

Target:     Grades 2-5

Series:      Yes

What this book is about:
Annabelle Doll has been 8 years old for a hundred years.  In fact, she has lived in the same dollhouse, located in the same room, for that whole time.  She lives in accordance with the doll code, a code that keeps their living doll life a secret from humans.  Her world is changed, however, when she finds a secret diary written by her lost Auntie Sarah and new neighbors move into the room next door, the Funcrafts, from a big plastic doll house!

Why I love this book:
This book is simply charming.  There is nothing objectionable, rude or questionable in the story, it is simply a fun rendering of what would happen if dolls came to life and ended up solving a mystery to boot,which keeps the suspense going!

Too often I don’t spend enough time talking about the illustrations, and in this case they are done by Brian Selznick (author of Hugo Cabret) and they are a delight.

Who this book is for:
I have put second graders in the target audience, but it depends on their reading level whether this would be a read aloud or an independent read for them.  This is  a chapter book, and while the content is appropriate, their reading level has to be up to the challenge.

Final thoughts:
Dolls are people too!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: The Doll People  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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